• Jonathan Bloom writes about why we waste food, why it matters and what we can do about it. This is his blog.

Mutato Project

I love produce that has…character. You know, the stuff that looks–pick one–quirky, ugly or odd. When I find especially striking examples, I do this:

Uli Westphal is a German photographer who also enjoys “non-standard fruits, roots and vegetables.” Except when he finds interesting examples, being a professional photographer, he does this:

What could be better than creating beautiful art out of nature’s oddities? Not much. That’s why I’m excited that Uli has agreed to exhibit some of the fabulous images from his Mutato Project in my site’s Gallery.

Enjoy your browsing, and remember–amazingly–the “mutatoes” pictured are all actual, bona fide food items.

January 25, 2012 | Posted in Farm, International | Comments closed

Monday Leftovers

On the heels of Friday’s major outcry against waste by the EU Parliament, the head of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization spoke out against food waste this weekend. In other words, this issue is picking up steam.

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How did I not know there was a Discard Studies blog before now? A recent post features a fabulous array of infographics, or “theaters of proof.” Enjoy the show.

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Smart phones can help ensure food safety? And potentially let you see the cow your milk came from? Smile, Bessie! Or Cow 8261.

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Compost, trash or disposal? Easy decision, right? Not so much, as we learn in this helpful flow chart.

January 23, 2012 | Posted in Composting, Environment, Food Safety, Stats, Waste Stream | Comments closed

Europe Declares War on Waste

Yesterday was a massive day in food waste news, as the European Parliament passed a resolution* targeting its reduction.

More specifically, Parliament called on the European Commission to tackle waste through an ambitious goal of halving food waste by 2025. And setting the stakes for inaction–waste will increase by 40 percent if nothing is done.

The resolution specifically pushed for many waste-reducing measures, like less confusing date labeling on food packaging, a wider range of package sizes with perishables, and country-specific food-waste-prevention targets by 2014.

The resolution also urged further education on the issue: EU and national food waste awareness campaigns, declaring a European Year Against Waste in 2014 (pushed back from 2013), and school courses teaching better food storage, cooking and disposal.

Salvatore Caronna, the Member of European Parliament (MEP) assigned to investigate the issue, provides some perspective:

For the first time a European institution is raising the point and it is going to goad the other institutions to act as well. Now the ball is in the Commission’s court and the Commission is going to have to very swiftly come up with replies.

In the coming days and weeks, we shall see if the European Commission, a 27 member executive body, is up to the task. Let’s hope they can continue the momentum and strike a blow against food waste!

* For the full text of the 2011/2175(INI), go here, download the Word doc and scroll to page 327! And here’s a way to trace the resolution’s evolution.

January 20, 2012 | Posted in International | Comments closed

Keepin’ it Real…Ugly

It can get a little ugly when I go to the farmer’s market. Just this ugly:

These are actual (greenhouse-grown) peppers bought at The Durham Farmer’s Market this past weekend. No photoshopping, I promise.

Despite their shar-pei appearance,  they were delicious. Proving once again that food doesn’t have to look perfect or homogeneous to taste great.

And now–these beauts are ready for their closeups:

January 17, 2012 | Posted in Farmers' Market, Personal | Comments closed

Friday Buffet

If you missed the Food Network’s The Big Waste, here’s a recap, complete with screen shots. And here is some further thought, complete with big picture suggestions.  Reminder: the show reairs Saturday at 4pm EST and Sunday at 5pm EST.

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Dana Gunders at the NRDC blog considers how we’re composting $175 per year unnecessarily.

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UK retailer Marks & Spencer will soon carry new ethylene-absorbing packaging that will keep fruit fresh for a few more days. Because every little bit helps…

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Not to be outdone, British baked goods company Warburtons is making a push to make its supply chain less wasteful.

January 13, 2012 | Posted in Composting, Friday Buffet, Household, International | Comments closed

Reducing Waste For The Win

Forget Monday’s boring national championship game. The real college champion crowned this week is Marist College. Yup–Marist!

The pride of Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) won the EPA WasteWise Game Day Challenge in the Per Capita Organics Reduction category. If you select ‘Organics Reduction’ in the pulldown menu, you will see that tiny Marist destroyed the competition, outpacing both the green giants at the University of Colorado at Boulder and those Harvard overachievers.

And it seems Marist may have a bit of a dynasty brewing. They won the inaugural organics challenge in 2010. Go Red Foxes!

Check here to see if your school participated.

January 11, 2012 | Posted in College, Waste Stream | Comments closed

The Big Waste

Last night, the Food Network aired The Big Waste. Apparently, it was a cooking competition using food that would normally have been tossed.

Not having cable, I didn’t catch the show. But I’ll be sure to add it to this post if video becomes available. In the meantime, who saw it? Thoughts?

What I can say is that it’s heartening to see a major television network tackle the topic of food waste and enlist a major food personality like Bobby Flay to do so. So I’m optimistic that this is a positive sign!

(Also–the show reairs Saturday at 4 p.m. EST. )

January 9, 2012 | Posted in General | Comments closed

Friday Buffet

Here’s an updated version of the study tracking the US climate impact of food waste. Food waste represents 1.5% of greenhouse gas emissions? Sounds about right…

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A UK professor has the dirt on the EU’s strict standards for veggies.

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For those of you on Netflix–you can now instantly watch Dive! the quintessential American dumpster diving doc.

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No need for a caucus to determine that composting school food waste in Iowa makes sense!

January 6, 2012 | Posted in Composting, Friday Buffet, International, School, Stats | Comments closed

Halve a Heart

I’ve gushed about the Halfsies idea before, and that was before I saw their amazing introductory video. So, internets–meet Halfsies:

Don’t even try getting that infectious piano and concise messaging out of your head–it’s physiologically impossible.

Good show, Halfsies! All that remains is raising some cash and spreading the idea nationwide. (And then we’ll tackle the rest of the globe…)

January 4, 2012 | Posted in Restaurant | Comments closed

The Year of Butter?

It being 2012, we can safely say the holidays are in the rearview mirror (Right? I’m not forgetting anything, am I?). Given that, I thought it’d be fun to swap tales of holiday leftover usage from your kitchen or others.

Katy, aka The Non-Consumer Advocate, aka Coin Girl, shared this one via Facebook:

Last night I made scalloped potatoes which included the mashed potatoes from Christmas. Tonight I made fettucine alfredo with the last of the whipped cream from Christmas. It turns out that adding obscene amounts of butter to leftovers is the key to palatability.

No food waste in 2012, but much cardiovascular disease.

Kudos to Katy for sacrificing her family’s health to use up those leftovers. Kidding!

While adding boatloads of butter to leftovers is certainly one way to use up your food, there are plenty of other options. What’s the American version of bubble and squeak? Hash?

Anyone have a leftover tale or tip?

January 2, 2012 | Posted in Household, Life to Leftovers | Comments closed
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